Liquid cooling is an effective way to remove high heat loads from components. Excessive heat can compromise the reliability of a system and engineers are now turning to liquid cooling when air cooling no longer provides enough heat removal. Two types of liquid cooling are contact cooling and cabinet cooling.
A liquid cooling loop for contact cooling typically consists of a cold plate, pump, heat exchanger, and pipes or hoses. Heat generated by a component is transferred from the component to the thermally conductive cold plate, and then to the liquid coolant that flows through the cold plate. The heated coolant is then pumped through the heat exchanger, where heat is moved from the coolant to either the ambient air or, in the case of a liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger, to another liquid. The cooled liquid then flows through the pipes or hoses back to the cold plate, completing the liquid cooling loop. Instead of a heat exchanger, a recirculating chiller, a liquid cooling system, or facility water may be used to provide cool liquid to the process.
With cabinet cooling the air within the cabinet is cooled by flowing cold liquid through the heat exchanger and distributing the air within the cabinet via the heat exchanger fan. As with contact cooling, cabinet cooling may receive the cold liquid from facility water, a recirculating chiller, or another heat exchanger.